New Braunfels | April 2021

NEWBRAUNFELS EDITION

VOLUME 4, ISSUE 5  APRIL 130, 2021

ONLINE AT

INVESTING IN

The Texas Department of Transportation is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into improvements to the I-35 corridor throughout Hays and Comal counties.

upcoming projects

projects underway

Hays County

Comal County

$67.6M $106.8M

$107M $400M

IMPACTS

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$681.4M TOTAL :

Citywide street improvements are underway

SOURCE: TXDOT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

TRANSPORTATION

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Court reverses quarry’s permit for air quality

INSIDE

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Crews carry out work on I35 as part of the FM 306 to Hays County line project.

WARREN BROWNCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

New Braunfels has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing cities in the country in recent years, and home availability is struggling to keep pace with the booming population. INVENTORY STRUGGLES T KEEP UP

NEWS REPORT 2021 LOCAL VOTER GUIDE SAMPLE BALLOT

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A rapidly growing population, historically low interest rates and changing consumer needs have shifted the New Braunfels housing market into one of the most competitive in the area. Between 2014-19, U.S. Census Bureau data states the population of NewBraunfels grew by 47%, from61,712 residents to 90,710, and the bureau named the city as one of the fastest-growing in the nation. As the city has expanded, the supply of existing and new homes for sale has struggled to keep pace with demand, as evidenced by a steady decline in months CONTINUED ON 26 Rising demand threatens to outpace the housing market in NewBraunfels BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY

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WHAT IS MONTHS OF INVENTORY? Months of inventory indicates the amount of time it would take to sell all properties currently listed with no additional listings added.

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19

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2.4

Available housing in New Braunfels has declined steadily since 2019, as evidenced by lower months of inventory each February.

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1.1

0

2019

2020

2021

SOURCE: FOUR RIVERS ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

DINING FEATURE

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ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMHEATHER: The I-35 corridor is undergoing a multibillion dollar renovation throughout Central Texas, and a sizable portion of those upgrades are taking place from the northern border of Hays County to the southern border of Comal County. This issue provides an update on how the numerous projects spanning that length of I-35 are going, as well as what we can expect from future projects. Heather Demere, GENERALMANAGER

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FROMBRIAN: Rapid growth has been a main signier of Comal County for several years. As more and more people move to the New Braunfels area, residential and commercial developments are being constructed in an eort to keep up with the inux. In this issue, Reporter Lauren Canterberry takes a look at residential developments spanning the city and beyond, and how they are coming to help dene the area. Brian Rash, EDITOR

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • APRIL 2021

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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Express Paintless Dent Removal Inc.

CREEKSIDE CROSSING

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COURTESY EXPRESS PAINTLESS DENT REMOVAL

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5 The Pillars Christian Learning Center opened its newest location at 2144 Gabriels Place, New Braunfels, in January. The learning center strives to empower children by identifying, acknowledging and appreciating the diverse needs and talents of each child, and helping them know and understand they are accepted and valued for their uniqueness. Other locations are in San Antonio, Spring Branch and Cibolo. 830-310-0017. www.thepillarslc.com 6 Tropical Smoothie Cafe , located 2180 Hwy. 46, New Braunfels, opened March 20. The establishment oers a number of menu items, including quesadillas, wraps and several dierent kinds of smoothies. This is the smooth- ie chain’s rst location in the New Braunfels area. 915-342-6922. www.tropicalsmoothiecafe.com 7 Direct primary care general medicine practitioner The VIP Clinic , run by Dr. Robert Reid, opened at 1067 FM 306, Ste. 601, New Braunfels, at the end of February. The clinic is accepting new patients and usually takes same-day appointments. 830-832-8378. www.thevipclinic.net Veteran-based business Dance and Joy Wedding DJ and Events expanded to include services in the New Braunfels area in March. The company, owned by DJ Ray Pinnock, has been providing enter- tainment for special events for the last 25 years. Dance and Joy provides music and entertainment for all occasions, from weddings to birthday parties and gradua- tions. 210-518-9280. www.danceandjoydj.com

GABRIELS PL.

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LAKE DUNLAP

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MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2021 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOWOPEN 1 Auto body repair company Express Paintless Dent Removal Inc. held a soft opening March 1 at its newest location at 198 E. Nacogdoches St., New Braunfels. The shop was fully staed as of April 1, and services include repair of large and minor dents as well as hail damage. 512-749-4228. www.expresspaintless.com 2 The Guadalupe Brewing Co. , located at 1586 Wald Road, New Braunfels,

opened the Guadalupe Pizza Kitchen on the premises. The eatery opened in mid- March, and the store is open Mon.-Wed. and Fri. from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Thur. from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 830-837-9205. www.guadalupebrew.com 3 Mexican eatery Las Palapas opened March 10 at 1675 Hwy. 46, New Braunfels. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch platters with items ranging from breakfast tacos to enchi- ladas and burritos. The restaurant was

founded in 1981 and merges California air with South Texas traditional cuisine. 830-302-2301. www.laspalapas.com 4 Teeth-whitening company Pearl- E-White Haus is open at 176 E. Faust St., New Braunfels. The establishment opened in early March and is now taking appointments from clients for teeth- whitening services in the oce. Pearl- E-White also oers at-home whitening options. 830-542-9577. www.pearlewhitehaus.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY & BRIAN RASH

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The Pillars Christian Learning Center

Comfort Dental

COURTESY NEW BRAUNFELS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

LAUREN CANTERBERRYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

COMING SOON 8 Gruene Gables Pet Resort , located at 518 FM 306, New Braunfels, is expect- ed to be ready to open before the end of 2021. The business will come with a laundry facility and reception area and oer grooming and luxury pet boarding and day care for dogs, cats and other small animals. 830-626-2262 9 A new McDonald’s restaurant to be located at FM 306 and Industrial Long- horn Drive in New Braunfels is slated to be complete with construction by fall. Project details from the Texas Depart- ment of Licensing and Regulation state the store will have a dual drive- thru layout located at the back of the restaurant. www.mcdonalds.com 10 Comfort Dental will open at 1187 W. County Line Road, New Braunfels, this summer. The new oce will be the sixth franchise location in Central Texas and will oer general dentistry services for new patients. www.comfortdental.com RELOCATIONS 11 Christus Trinity Clinic Hill Coun- try-Oak Run relocated from 1850 Hwy. 46, New Braunfels, to 1925 Hwy. 46, New Braunfels. The facility moved at the end of February and is oering video and telephone appointments for a full range of family medicine services. 830-643-7000. www.christushealth.org EXPANSIONS 12 Hope Hospice Thrift Shop will expand its 613 N. Walnut Ave., New

Braunfels, location to include more retail space with work expected to be completed in the fall. Purchases made at the store directly support Hope Hospice services and programs, and donations are accepted weekly. 830-625-4746. www.hopehospice.net/thrift-shop IN THE NEWS 13 Home improvement business Kitchen Tune-Up New Braunfels received the Project of the Year award in March. The award is given out by the Kitchen Tune Up franchise, and the New Braunfels store, located at 1335 Wald Road, Ste. 102, was selected as POY out of the chain’s 209 na- tionwide locations. “Each of our franchise locations strive to make every kitchen project an incredible experience for their clients,” said Heidi Morrissey, president of Kitchen Tune-Up, in a news release. 830-387-4253. www.kitchentuneup.com CLOSINGS 14 Famed Central Texas theater Alamo Drafthouse Cinema led for Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 3 and announced the closure of two Texas theaters: Alamo Drafthouse Marketplace in New Braunfels, located at 651 Hwy. 46 Business, New Braunfels, and The Ritz in downtown Austin. Through the ling, the company will sell its assets to a group of investors, including Altamont Capital Partners; Fortress Investment Group; and Tim League, Alamo Draft- house founder and executive chairman, among others. The closure announce- ment for the New Braunfels theater also cited the ongoing impact of COVID-19. 830-625-0900. www.drafthouse.com

City leaders broke ground for the NewBraunfels Public LibraryWestside Branch onMarch 12.

COURTESY CITY OF NEW BRAUNFELS

FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON Construction has begun on the New Braunfels Public Library Westside Branch project. Library services oered at the Westside Community Center, which include internet access, interlibrary loans, test proctoring and more, will soon be expanded with the construction of a new facility on the 2932 S. I-35 property. Services currently available at the Westside Community Center include programming for adults and children. Adult book bundles, book clubs, art and consumer education classes, assistance with job searches and volunteering opportunities, which will all be retained and in some cases expanded through the facility upgrade. The $5.5 million project is part of the city’s 2019 bond program, and the planned 8,800-square-foot facility will include a program room, a study room, a teen space, a library collection of up to 20,000 items, computers and a community garden. As the improvement project nears the construction phase, city sta have expressed enthusiasm toward the expansion. “The library team is excited to watch this new building rise up,” said Gretchen Pruett, New Braunfels

Public Library director, in a statement. “The groundbreaking for the new library branch on the grounds of the Westside Community Center marks the culmination of the dreams of many of the citizens of New Braunfels.” Construction is expected to last one year, weather and other factors permitting, and the building was designed by Komatsu Architecture with Stoddard Construction Management acting as contractor. The library services oered at the Westside Community Center will continue throughout construction of the new facility according to the city. To celebrate the coming of the new facility, several city ocials and sta broke ground on the project March 12.

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • APRIL 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATION Street improvements included in bond programs continue inNewBraunfels area

BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY

have been ongoing since December 2018 and are slated for completion in late summer 2021, Cain said. The $11 million project is a joint eort with New Braunfels Utilities, Cain said, and paving will begin after NBU crews have completed pipe installation along the roadway. Several projects included in the 2019 bond’s Citywide Streets Improvement Project are nearing completion, with work on more roads scheduled to begin this summer. The $15 million project includes more than 20 roads throughout the city and began with improvements to Kerlick Lane, California Boule- vard, Oak Glen and Timber Hollow, all of which have been completed,

according to Cain. Work on West San Antonio Street from Spur Street to North Krueger Avenue is ongoing and anticipated to be completed at the end of June, Cain said. The work includes sidewalk installation, driveway construction and roadway improve- ments for a total of $2.4 million. Construction on Lakeview Boulevard, North Grant Avenue, East South Street and South Central Avenue is expected to be completed in late summer, with work on streets surrounding Lamar Elementary School slated to begin in the summer while school is not in session. “We’re scheduled to work around the elementary school over the

summer to avoid any conicts with school trac,” Cain said. The roads surrounding the school that are scheduled for improvements are North Houston Avenue, East Commerce Street, North Veramendi Avenue and East Main Street. Plans for North Grape Avenue, North Peach Avenue, North Plum Avenue and West County Line Road are still in the design phase, Cain said, while work on North Union Avenue and Comal Avenue is expected to begin later this spring. Projects on Goodwin Lane, Conrads Lane and the second phase of improvements to Klein are in the design phases with construction anticipated to begin in two years.

Construction continues on city roads throughout New Braunfels that were previously identied in the city’s 2013 and 2019 bond programs, with some projects scheduled for completion this summer and others slated to begin in spring. Phase 1 of the Klein Road recon- struction project, which is part of the 2013 bond, is anticipated to be completed this spring, said Jennifer Cain, capital programs manager for the city of New Braunfels. The $8 million project included street widening, the addition of a turn lane and construction of sidewalks. Improvements to Solms Road, Morningside Drive and Rueckle Road CITYWIDE STREETS PROJECT UPDATE Work is ongoing to improve roads included in the 2019 bond’s Citywide Streets Improvement Project, with some streets nearing completion and others scheduled to begin this summer.

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E. COMMERCE ST.

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amount dedicated to the Citywide Streets Improvement Project in the 2019 bond program. $15 M

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UNDERWAY:

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1 W. San Antonio Street 2 Lakeview Boulevard

3 N. Grant Avenue 4 E. South Street 5 Central Avenue

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UPCOMING:

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PLUM AVE.

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6 N. Houston Avenue 7 E. Commerce Street 8 N. Veramendi Avenue 9 E. Main Street 10 N. Grape Avenue 11 N. Peach Avenue 12 N. Plum Avenue 13 W. County Line Road 14 N. Union Avenue 15 Comal Avenue

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PEACH AVE.

GRAPE AVE.

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NOT ALL CURRENT OR UPCOMING STREET

IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS ARE MAPPED.

SOURCE: CITY OF NEW BRAUNFELSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

MAP NOT TO SCALE N

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • APRIL 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Vulcan Construction Materials, LLC, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and concerned citizen groups opposed to a proposed aggregate quarry in Comal County have been engaged in legal proceedings since 2018. BACK A LEGAL & FORTH

ENVIRONMENT Approval of air-quality permit for Vulcan Quarry in Comal County reversed in district court

The TCEQ declared the air-quality permit application for Vulcan Construction Materials LLC was complete.

JULY 5, 2017

BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY

not adequately account for cumula- tive impacts or road emissions, and the company’s emissions calculations were not representative of the site. Previously, an administrative law judge ruled Vulcan could maintain information from a 2016 subsurface investigation as condential under the trade secret privilege, a decision Gamble said denied plaintis due process. “In Texas there are very few requirements for a quarry or an aggregate mine to go into operation compared to other states in the country,” Drewa said. “There’s just really minimal supervision and minimal regulation.” Members of Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry, Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining and other local groups are working with state Rep. Kyle Biederman, RFredericksburg, to introduce legislation aimed at creating more oversight for similar mining operations. Drewa said Texas House Bill 4341 would transfer quarry and aggre- gate permitting from the TCEQ to the railroad commission, a move that could increase protections for natural resources in areas subject to mining operations. Attorneys for the Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry are now responsible for drafting a nal order, according to the ruling, which will be presented to the TCEQ and Vulcan. A hearing was set for April 2 should the parties disagree on the nal order, and the defendants will have the option to appeal the decision to the 3rd Court of Appeals. “We do expect them to appeal that decision,” Drewa said. “We won a single battle in what is going to be a long war.” In addition to the air-quality permit, the quarry must also receive approval from the TCEQ for a water pollution abatement permit to begin operations—a plan that has yet to be submitted for approval. Vulcan and the TCEQ declined to comment on the ruling as proceedings are ongoing.

Progress on a proposed quarry owned by Vulcan Construction Mate- rials, LLC has stalled after a judge in the 459th District Court in Travis County ruled in favor of concerned Comal County citizen groups. The lawsuit, led Feb. 14, 2020, by Friends of Dry Comal Creek and Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, aimed to reverse the TCEQ’s November 2019 approval of air-qual- ity permits submitted by Vulcan for its proposed rock-crushing facility. Plaintis and area residents raised concerns the new facility could increase area air pollution, pose a threat to the Edwards Aquifer or lead to decreased property values in nearby neighborhoods, according to a press release from Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry. The proposed 1,500-acre quarry would be located between FM 3009 and Hwy. 46 and would cover a por- tion of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, according to the quarry web- site. Mining of the quarry is expected to last approximately 80 years, and 40% of the property, including 100- foot buer zones from the property line, would not be mined. “Vulcan applied for the air quality permit for this facility back in July of 2017,” said David Drewa, director of communications for Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry. “The neighbors and the citizens and the residents in the area have banded together and have been ghting this ever since then.” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble heard the case Dec. 8 before ruling in favor of the plaintis March 5. Gamble called for the TCEQ’s approval of the air permit to be reversed and vacated, stalling the project. The ruling stated the TCEQ’s determination that the proposed plant’s crystalline silica emissions would not negatively impact human health was not supported by sub- stantial evidence. Additionally, the judge ruled Vulcan’s air-dispersion modeling did

The TCEQ holds a public meeting to hear concerns from Comal County residents about the proposed rock- crushing plant.

FEB. 27, 2018

New Braunfels City Council approves a resolution urging state lawmakers to heed citizen concerns about the quarry.

MARCH 12, 2018

The Comal County Commissioners Court passes a resolution urging the TCEQ to consider citizen health and safety concerns before approving an air-quality permit.

MARCH22, 2018

Comal ISD passes a resolution opposing the construction of the Vulcan Quarry.

JUNE 26, 2018

The State Oce of Administrative Hearings holds a preliminary hearing regarding Vulcan’s air- quality permit application.

MARCH6, 2019

A contested case hearing is held. The court rules in favor of the TCEQ and Vulcan.

JUNE 1011, 2019

Friends of Dry Comal Creek and Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry le a lawsuit against the TCEQ.

FEB. 14, 2020

The 459th District Court held a hearing for the lawsuit.

DEC. 8, 2020

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble rules in favor of plaintis.

MARCH5, 2021

SOURCES: STOP 3009, VULCAN CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS LLC, VULCAN QUARRYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

If the proposed Vulcan Commercial Materials LLC quarry receives the necessary permits, work at the site could continue for up to 80 years. QUARRY THE PROPOSED

40% of land will remain unexcavated

1,500 acres

80YEAR build-out plan 1520 full-time jobs Operations will continue from

46

THE COMAL QUARRY

6A.M.6P.M. six days a week

SOURCE: VULCAN CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS LLCCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • APRIL 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Comal & New Braunfels ISDs

COMPILED BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY

Students, teachersgiven choiceonmaskwearing COMAL ISD During a March 9 special meeting, the Comal ISD board of trustees amended the district’s health and safety guidelines to give students and teachers a choice regarding face coverings, eective March 10. Following the Texas Education Agency’s provision that school districts have the authority to determine coronavirus-related health protocols, individuals are now allowed to choose whether they will wear a face covering while on campus and during school activities. According to a statement released by board President David Drastata, quarantine guidelines will remain in place regardless of the individual’s choice to wear a mask. “We strongly recommend the continued use of face coverings to protect our teachers and sta, and your child’s opportunity to participate in spring sports, ne arts, prom and potentially graduation,” Drastata said in the release. Students and sta members who come within 6 feet of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more where one or both people were not properly masked will still be required to quarantine. The use of face shields and neck gaiters will not exclude an individual from the quarantine requirement.

District tocontinuemask requirementsoncampus NEWBRAUNFELS ISD Following guidance from the Texas Education Agency, New Braunfels ISD will continue to require students and sta to wear face coverings while on campus through the end of the school year. The district released parent and sta surveys March 5 regarding Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to end the mask mandate and received 1,553 parent responses and 871 employee responses. Of the parents who responded, 70% preferred that the district’s mask policy be continued at least through the end of the school year, and 78% of employee respondents agreed. “In both of these thought exchanges, most of the comments are saying leave [the policy] until the end of the school year,” former Superintendent Randy Moczygemba said. Regardless of a district’s mask policy, quarantine guidelines for students and sta members who come within 6 feet of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more where one or both people were not properly masked will remain. Mask policies have helped to reduce the number of quarantine periods during the school year, Moczygemba said, noting students who have had to quarantine have struggled more than students who remained in person or virtual the entire time.

After Gov. Greg Abbott ended the statewide mask mandate March 10, New Braunfels ISD opted to continue the requirement through the end of the year, while Comal ISD left the decision up to families and employees. SPLIT DECISION ON MASKS

COMAL ISD COVID19 POLICY:

Face coverings are not required, though district sta have encouraged students and sta to continue wearing masks Physical distancing eorts will continue where possible Students and sta who come in close contact with a positive case will be required to quarantine Close contact is dened as being within 6 feet of a positive case for 15 minutes or more where one or both people were not properly masked

NEW BRAUNFELS ISD COVID19 POLICY:

Face masks must be worn on campus and during school events Neck gaiters and face shields are not considered approved face coverings Physical distancing will be enforced with students spaced 6 feet apart when possible Students and sta who come in close contact with a positive case will be required to quarantine Close contact is dened as being within 6 feet of a positive case for 15 minutes or more where one or both people were not properly masked

SOURCES: COMAL ISD, NEW BRAUNFELS ISD COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

District appoints an interim superintendent

Comal ISD Meets April 29 and May 20 at 6 p.m. at the CISD District Oce, 1404 N. I-35, New Braunfels. 830-221-2000 • www.comalisd.org New Braunfels ISD Meets April 12 and May 10 at 7 p.m. at the NBISD Administration Center, 1000 N. Walnut Ave., New Braunfels. 830-643-5705 • www.nbisd.org MEETINGSWE COVER

President Sherry Harrison said in a statement. “We feel that he will be a

NEWBRAUNFELS ISD The New Braunfels ISD board of trustees announced March 22 that James M. Largent will serve as the interim superintendent of the district until the position is lled permanently. Largent has more than 33 years of experience in education and begins his role March 22 following previous Superintendent Randy

Moczygemba’s early leave. Before joining NBISD, Largent worked as a superintendent for 21 years in three school districts throughout Texas. “The Board of Trustees of New Braunfels ISD is very excited that Dr. Largent will be guiding, sup- porting and managing our district in the coming weeks,” NBISD board

wonderful asset to our team, and look forward to working with him to lead the district through the end of the school year.” The board will continue to search for a full-time replacement. James M. Largent

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY& COUNTY

News from New Braunfels & Comal County

QUOTEOFNOTE “SINCE I’VE BEEN ON CITY COUNCIL, THERE’S ONLY BEEN ONE SUPERMAJORITY THAT I KNOWOF.” MEMBER AND MAYOR PRO TEM, IN REFERENCE TO HOW COUNCIL VOTED ON ZONING FOR A RECENT MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENT NUMBER TOKNOW In March, the New Braunfels Public Library won the Achievement of Excellence in Libraries award for the sixth year JUSTIN MEADOWS, NEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL in a row. Each year, the Texas Municipal Library Directors Association selects library systems that demonstrate excellence in community outreach, diverse programming and more. 6

NBU customers can expect increase in electric bills

BY BRIAN RASH

electric utilities to recover costs due to the volatility of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas market, which is a market-based grid that covers about 90% of Texas and includes NBU. With that adjustment, the average NBU electric bill will rise a little more than $6.50, from $118.31 in 2020 to $124.89 in 2021. “Essentially what we’re doing is trying to maintain a smooth bill for our customers,” Taylor said, adding that NBU plans for the GCRF portion of an electric bill to be reduced this summer, when more energy is used to cool homes and businesses, and rise again in the fall. NBU data shows the cost of power for NBU in February was estimated at $82 million, and the total cost of

ADJUSTING THE BILL

Maskmandate incity facilitieswill continue due tocouncil vote Taylor told council this would be possible through an adjustment to a section of consumers’ electric bills called the generation cost recovery factor, or GCRF. Taylor said GCRF is used by all NEWBRAUNFELS Due to the mid-February winter storm that resulted in surging energy costs for markets statewide, ocials have approved an issuance of short-term debt of up to $100 million for New Braunfels Utilities. City Council gave the approval during a March 8 meeting, and NBU CEO Ian Taylor said the debt, which will come through a deal made with JP Morgan Bank, should be paid o in one year.

To pay for a debt issuance necessitated by the February winter storm, New Braunfels Utilities is adjusting electric bills. This is how the average scal year 2019-20 bill will compare with the FY 2020-21 bill:

Fiscal year 2019-20 Fiscal year 2020-21

$118.31 $124.89

SOURCE: NBUCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

power budgeted for the power com- pany for the entire scal year topped out at $88.5 million. “Paying it o in a year, it’s a great goal,” Mayor Rusty Brockman said of the debt issuance.

CITY& COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS

A GROWING AREA The River’s Edge Apartments will be located at the intersection of FM 725 and East Klein Road. City sta identied the area as a strategic place to incorporate workforce housing.

New Braunfels City Council Meets second and forth Mondays at 6 p.m. at 550 Landa St., New Braunfels 830-221-4000 • www.nbtexas.org Comal County Meets Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. at 100 Main Plaza, second oor, New Braunfels. 830-221-1100. www.co.comal.tx.us Guadalupe County Meets Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at 101 E. Court St., Seguin 830-303-8869 www.co.guadalupe.tx.us MEETINGSWE COVER NEWBRAUNFELS As residents continue to be aected by residual eects of the mid-February winter storm, the city of New Braunfels has waived permit fees for emergency plumbing repairs and other projects through Aug. 23. Ocials on March 21 issued a news release stating the city is expediting permits to assist with rapid repairs and minimize the nancial impact of the storm. COMAL COUNTY During the March 18 Comal County Commissioners Court meeting, the Comal County Wellness Werks Committee was awarded the Wellness Committee of the Year Award for 2020 by the Texas Association of Counties. Each year, the association selects a county wellness committee that has worked well with county sta to implement wellness programs and practices.

SOUTHBANK BLVD.

BY BRIAN RASH

NEWBRAUNFELS In response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order lifting the mask mandate in Texas and allowing 100% capacity in all businesses eective March 10, the city of New Braunfels will continue to require masks to be worn by sta and customers at all city facilities. Council also voted to allow 100% occupancy in city facilities, up from 75%, and ocials directed city sta to revisit the mandate by April 12. Prior to the decision, which came during a March 8 City Council meet- ing, City Manager Robert Camareno said protocol so far in Texas has placed capacity restrictions and other COVID-19-related restrictions on areas with hospitalization rates at 15% or higher for seven days or longer. Camareno said as of March 8, the hospitalization rate in New Braunfels was about 6%. According to Abbott’s order, every person in the state is still strongly encouraged to follow health recom- mendations and guidelines from Texas Department of State Health Services, and local school districts are allowed to continue to set their own guidelines.

SOURCE: CITY OF NEW BRAUNFELS COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

725

N

City Council approves zoning formultifamily development inMarch supermajority vote

BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY

rapidly growing area,” said Melina Sanders, director of development with Herman Kittle Properties, Inc. In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau listed the New Braunfels AMI to be $71,044, and city ocials have high- lighted the need for more aordable housing options for residents. “We’re in dire need of workforce housing in this community,” said city council member Justin Mead- ows. “The reality is, it’s the perfect space for [the development]. Not popular, but it is the perfect space for it.” After hearing opposition from bordering property owners and support from the property owner, all six city council members and the mayor voted to approve the zone change in a supermajority vote.

NEWBRAUNFELS During a March 22 council meeting, council members approved the rezoning of 19.96 acres of land to be used for a proposed multifamily residential development. The property, located at the intersection of FM 725 and East Klein Road, was previously zoned for single family and agriculture. Developers plan to construct approximately 300 units of full mar- ket-rate housing on the property and will set aside 51% of units for residents making at or below 80% of the area median income, or AMI. “[City] senior planner Jean Drew informed us our intended use was in line with the city’s future plan for a transitional corridor in this

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • APRIL 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY GUIDE L O C A L V O T E R G U I D E 2021

D A T E S T O K N O W

Residents can cast their ballots at any polling location in their county, including six New Braunfels locations. For a complete list of polling locations, visit www.co.comal.tx.us/elections or www.co.guadalupe.tx.us/elections W H E R E T O V O T E

April 19 First day of early voting April 20 Last day to apply for ballot by mail (received, not postmarked)

April 27 Last day of early voting May 1 Election day May 1 Last day to receive ballot by mail (unless late- arriving deadline applies)

S A M P L E B A L L O T

P O L L I N G L O C A T I O N S

*Incumbent

Grace Church 3240 FM 725, New Braunfels New Braunfels Municipal Building 424 S. Castell Ave., New Braunfels Westside Community Center 2932 S. I-35, New Braunfels

District 2 David Drastata* Courtney Biasatti District 5 Michelle Ann Ross*

NEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL District 3 Harry Bower* Kevin Robles District 4 Joy Harvey Lawrence Spradley COMAL ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES District 1 Tim Hennessee* Brittany Soto

NEW BRAUNFELS

Christ Presbyterian Church 1620 Common St., New Braunfels Comal County Goodwin Annex 1297 Church Hill Drive, New Braunfels Comal County Senior

NEW BRAUNFELS ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES District 3 Eric Bergquist* John Porter District 5 Stephen Minus Brian Grenier Betty Niven

Citizens Center 655 Landa St., New Braunfels

N E W B R A U N F E L S C I T Y C H A R T E R P R O P O S I T I O N S

CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT H Updates the charter to match state law by adjusting the city manager’s authority to contract for budgeted items with a limit of up to $50,000. Anything over that limit would still require City Council approval CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT I Allows the city manager to consent and allow council members to interact with individual department heads without violating the charter CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT J Updates the charter to match state law and current city practices regarding the appointment and removal of the municipal court judge by the city council. Also allows the municipal court judge up to 120 days after his/her appointment to establish residency in the city after being appointed by the city manager CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT K Gives the city secretary a total of 20 days to present a recall petition to the City Council, instead of the current minimum of ve days CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT L Repeals and removes the section of the charter that establishes and regulates the city’s Department of Taxation, which no longer exists due to state regulations CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT M Allows for the correction of grammar, spelling, gender references, syntax and future corrections without the need for additional charter amendment elections CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT N Mandates that certain city records must be published

CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT A Removes the one-year gap between a councilperson’s second and third terms CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT B Gives City Council additional authority when a council seat becomes vacant for 12 months or less CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT C Prohibits any councilperson from intentionally resigning their position in order to circumvent term limit rules. Oenders would be prohibited from Claries the role of the mayor during an emergency or disaster. The mayor would be given access to all of the abilities granted by state law in order to keep the peace, respond to the situation and appoint additional help if necessary. CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT E running in future city elections CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT D The mayor pro tem would be primarily responsible for coordinating City Council’s annual evaluations of the city manager, the city attorney and the municipal court judge CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT F Claries the residency requirement for the city manager and the city attorney, giving them up to 120 days after their appointment to establish residency in New Braunfels CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT G Adds the requirement for the city manager to annually provide the city council with a ve-year nancial forecast and a ve-year capital improvement plan

on the city’s website CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT O

Changes how many times certain types of ordinances must be read by City Council for approval and claries the eective dates for all ordinances and publication

requirements for all ordinances CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT P

Updates the discrimination provision in the charter to include categories encompassed by federal and state law such as a prohibition on discrimination based on color, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other protected classication that state or federal law prohibits as a basis for such appointment or removal CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT Q Adds a succession plan to the charter in the case of emergency or disaster where a quorum of City Council can no longer serve due to injury or death. This section establishes an interim quorum of the city council through automatic but temporary appointments in order to handle city issues during the crisis. CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT R Claries the restrictions and guidelines on campaign activities by city employees and city ocials. Specically, it restricts participation in political campaigning or related activities during work hours or while representing the city or their position with the city. Additionally, this change regulates o- duty political participation when the city manager believes it is causing an unreasonable disruption to city operations.

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • APRIL 2021

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